The explanation of the terms listed below refer to their usage in the field of Mechanical Music. Many of the descriptions are from the book The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments by MBSI member Arthur A. Reblitz, published by the Mechanical Music Press, Woodsville, New Hampshire; copyright 2001. They are used here with permission of the author and publisher. Permission is granted for writers to use a limited number of brief excerpts provided credit is given to the MBSI web site, the title of the original work and the author. Written permission is required for all other uses. German nouns and words that are also names of places are capitalized.
laminated comb: In a cylinder musical box, a comb arranged vertically and comprised of individual teeth stacked upon each other and played by a vertically-mounted cylinder. Usually found in early watches, musical waxing seals, etc. Incorrect usage: describing a sectional comb.
leader: 1. Roll leader: the very beginning of a music roll on which the tune title(s), tempo, and other information is printed and to which the end tab (also listed in this Glossary) is affixed. 2. Band leader (also listed in this Glossary).
legato: A sustained tone. In a legato passage of music, each note is held until the next note begins.
lever-wind box: Cylinder music box, usually of the mid or late 19th century, wound by a permanently-attached lever with a ratchet escapement. (Compare to key-wind.)
light(ing) effects: Decorative electrical effects such as blinking lights, moving lights, wonder lights, motion picture scenes, and other illuminated devices used in coin pianos, orchestrions, organs, and other instruments to create attention and to attract the public. See motion picture scene, wonder light.
ligne: A unit of measure equal to 1/12 French inch, (2.256 mm) sometimes used to describe the diameter of a music box cylinder.
lock and cancel: Descriptive of a control used to operate a pneumatic musical instrument. One short perforation locks the mechanism in the "on" position, in which position it remains until another perforation releases it to the "off" position. In this way an effect (a pipe register, for example) can be "on" for a long period of time without having to use an extended or chain perforation, which would weaken the paper. See general cancel.
longue: marche. Cylinder music box equipped with multiple springs and special gearing to provide an extended playing time after winding.
lotus flute pipe: Stopped flute pipe, usually of limited musical range, used in orchestrions (e.g., Hupfeld Pan Orchestra, Sinfonie Jazz, and late Helios styles) and organs, mainly circa 1910-1930, but especially in the 1920s. Usually equipped with a vibrato device which, together with music arranged to "slide" (i.e., glissando effect) from one note to the next, imparts a haunting rising and falling tone to the music. Usually played as a solo effect using specially-arranged music rolls. * Compare to the Swanee whistle. * German: Lotos Flöte.
loud: Having great intensity of sound. * Italian: forte. * Antonym: piano.
loud pedal: In a piano the sustaining pedal. (Popular usage, technically inaccurate.)